VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has invited Catholics worldwide to renew the act of consecrating the church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, to Mary every March 25, the feast of the Annunciation.
At the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square March 22, the pope recalled last year's service "when, in union with all the bishops of the world, the church and humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, were consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
"Let us not tire of entrusting the cause of peace to the Queen of Peace," he said, asking that people not forget "troubled Ukraine, which is suffering so much."
The pope invited "every believer and community, especially prayer groups, to renew every March 25 the Act of Consecration to Our Lady, so that she, who is mother, may preserve us all in unity and peace."
As Russia's violent invasion of Ukraine entered its second month Pope Francis pronounced the Act of Consecration after leading a Lenten penance service in St. Peter's Basilica March 25, 2022. He had asked bishops around the world to join him the same day in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In his homily during the Lenten penance service, Pope Francis had said the Act of Consecration was "no magic formula but a spiritual act" of trust by "children who, amid the tribulation of this cruel and senseless war that threatens our world, turn to their mother, reposing all their fears and pain in her heart and abandoning themselves to her."
"It means placing in that pure and undefiled heart, where God is mirrored, the inestimable goods of fraternity and peace, all that we have and are, so that she, the mother whom the Lord has given us, may protect us and watch over us," the pope had said.